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Pawhuska Indian Village voters elect three new Five-Man Board members

Pawhuska Indian Village residents re-elected two people and voted for three new members to serve on the village Five-Man Board.

Paula Stabler and Ryan RedCorn won re-election and incoming new board members are Marjorie Williams, Patrick Luey and Cherokee Cheshewalla. All five will serve two-year terms on the Five-Man Board charged with providing “for the health, safety and welfare of its inhabitants; for the maintenance of tribal property; and to serve as custodian and manager of tribal property and improvements located within said village,” according to the Code of Federal Regulations section referenced in the Pawhuska village constitution created in 1963.

At the village board’s request, the Osage Nation Election Board conducted the Oct. 26-27 election as it did in 2013 and the year before when a 2012 special election was held. According to the ON Election Code, the Pawhuska and Hominy village committee (Five-Man board) elections may be conducted by other government entities if residents seek assistance “as long as those elections are not inconsistent with the Osage Constitution and Osage law.”

On the first night, the Election Board and Election Supervisor Alexis Rencountre opened the election by asking the residents in attendance for nominees for the positions. Nine village residents were nominated.

Rencountre, a former Pawhuska village resident, did not participate in counting votes, but announced the results after the Election Board and Assistant Election Supervisor Courtney Dailey completed counting votes. Sitting on the Election Board are Shannon Lockett, Terry Hazen and Belle Wilson.

The election results: Williams – 33; RedCorn – 31; Stabler – 28; Luey – 22; Cheshewalla – 21; Janice Easley – 19; Dean Carter – 17; Sam Brothers – 6; Clarence Brothers – 5.

Stabler, who has served on the board since 2012 and also in earlier years, said “We have so many projects in the works and I am looking forward to continue our mission to create a better environment for our village. I want to thank our past board for all of their hard work and the village is looking beautiful and we hope to keep it that way. We are all really progressing with our master plan and the survey and I hope the new board is ready to get going. We have our next round of community input to gather and then we are ready to plan our next project.”

Outgoing board members are Harrison Shackelford, Jodell Heath and Paula Farid. The former board worked on several village improvement projects that included taking property inventory and purchasing new maintenance equipment; making improvements to Wakon Iron Hall’s facilities; helping plan the building of the new Pawhuska dance arbor; using a day-worker program to maintain the landscape and to clean out litter and dump sites around the village. The board is also working with local-based Native American-owned planning firm Blue Star Studios Inc. on a master plan for the village, which seeks to provide infrastructure improvements.

RedCorn stepped in to fill a vacancy on the Five-Man Board in the summer of 2014 and will serve his first full two-year term on the board. RedCorn said he plans to continue working on the inter-government relationship between the board and the ON government, which includes potential future legislation, that will aide the village in handling its issues and if successful, could also extend to the Grayhorse Indian Village. In the meantime, RedCorn said he would continue the legislation work with Executive Branch legal counsel Terry Mason Moore and the Grayhorse Five-Man Board before it faces consideration by the ON Congress.

Williams said she was asked to run for the board by other residents in the past few weeks and said: “In the past I have worked in different programs where you had to understand the CFRs and how ‘unique’ Osages are and how we are set up with our restricted villages. Since I am now a resident of the Village and the new Nation’s Constitution is in place, I am eager to learn the new laws and a better understanding of them, not only for my family, but also for rest of the residents in the Village.”

Cheshewalla said: “As a resident of the Pawhuska Village for over 10 years, it is an honor to serve and to try to make our community the best that it can be. As for plans, that will be something the board will decide as a group with the residents best interest put first. Of course there are things I would like to see done and I will definitely discuss that, but I am just looking forward to the continued progress of the Village.”

Luey said he is also excited to be a part of the board after living in the village with his family for almost three years. “It feels good knowing other residents of the village have faith in me to help make the decisions to make this a great place to live and to keep the village going in the positive path it is going in … As far as plans go, (I plan) to work with the other board members to make this village a desirable place for current and future residents to live … This is another way for me as an individual to do my part to give back to the community of the Pawhuska Village.”


Benny Polacca

Original Publish Date: 2015-11-10 00:00:00


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Benny Polacca
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.

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